Being back on the case with Patrick Shea is an absolute treat for my mystery-loving senses. This is the fifth book in the series and I enjoy how each one presents a new case, but continues the series arc threads of Patrick’s personal life and goings on with his career. I confess that many times it is all the personal interactions and relationships that Patrick forms which engage me the most, but watching him put his detecting skills to work is no hardship either.
In this latest installment, Patrick and the rest of DCI Boyles’ Murder Investigation Team was working on the murder of a young university girl, but soon gets pulled off that case to get reassigned to a Jane Doe homicide in the city. The team has also been made aware that something strange is going on at the Hampton Station where they are all getting reassigned. The upheaval has shaken up many not the least of which is Patrick who tries to focus on the new case while figuring out what is going on internally with the police.
Patrick gets a further shake up when the woman he still thinks on years later returns into his life. He accused her of aiding a murderer and they parted with bitter disappointment. But dare he hope that he stands a second chance with Maureen? And if he does, will she ever tolerate a relationship with a police detective who puts in sometimes long and unusual hours and can be exposed to danger?
Patrick along with Tommy, Karen, and the rest of the investigative team slowly and steadily track down all the clues that wind their shocking, twisting, and dangerous way to a solution.
The story can get exciting and tense, but for the most part, the detecting is the gently-paced police procedural type. The plot was interesting and as I mentioned before is a blend of the case to be solved and development of Patrick’s own story.
Pacing had some sloggish moments, but all in all, it was steady. As an American reader who has never traveled to London, heard much about the crime going on there, or learned much about the infrastructure and politics of the British police force, the digression into explanations and descriptions throughout had great appeal.
The mystery was interesting and definitely engaging. It was not a complex ‘whodunnit’ so much as the complexity was in having the burden of proof and how Patrick and his team went about finding it. The answers weren’t easy or immediate; just that gathering the clues was along methodical lines more than intuitive ones for the detectives.
Most of the characters were familiar from the series. I love spending time with Patrick and his son, Josh. Josh is getting older and Patrick covets the time he gets with his son. He does his best even though Josh doesn’t live with him and he makes Josh a priority. The investigative team that Patrick is on are the people he spends the most time with. Tommy Boyle, Patrick’s mentor and the lead on their team is probably my favorite character after Patrick. The author writes her characters as ordinary types with strengths and flaws. They have triumphs and disappointments both. As a result, they are complex and three dimensional.
Patrick’s time with Maureen had the potential to be angsty and drama-filled after what went down between them before, but both time and their dispositions had them acting like mature adults willing to talk through things and be willing to let the past go. Patrick is such a guy and it was funny how he tried hard after their first date to negotiate a sleep over even after agreeing to take it slow. I loved where things went after waiting for their chance at reunion through several books.
All in all, this gently paced story was another enjoyable read in the series. I would recommend these to those who enjoy arm-chair cozies, police procedurals, and light romantic suspense in settings and situations that are authentic and sometimes gritty.
My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
And I have a little something different to go with my review. The author, Mary Lydon Simonsen, helped me out when I expressed a curiosity to know more about Patrick Shea, her dashing British detective to share him with our Delighted Readers. This is Jamie Bamber, her inspiration for Patrick and a brief bio of Patrick’s life. Enjoy!
But wait……There’s more!
The generous Mary also comes bearing a GIVEAWAY. Mary is offering up an e-copy of Murder by Moonlighting to TWO winners. To enter, simply leave a comment. Int’l entries are welcome. Comment on my review, Patrick’s bio, leave Mary some love or a question, or share who your favorite book detective is.
Biography of Patrick Shea
Born: 1974 – Kilburn, London, UK – One of six children
Education: City University, London – Criminal Law
Metropolitan Police Academy – Hendon, England
Divorced – One son, Josh – born 1997
Hobbies: Football, drums, running
Served in uniform and as a detective constable at two London police stations before being promoted to detective sergeant. Transferred to a Scotland Yard Murder Investigation Team under the supervision of Detective Chief Inspector Tommy Boyle and Superintendent Anita Lawrence. Recently promoted to detective inspector and transferred back to Hampden to a Criminal Investigation Department.